Every since my first encounter with a Painted Bunting, they have been one of top favorites. [notice I have lots of favorites :)] When we lived in south Florida, I turned to look out my window and saw one of the Avian Wonders on my feeder hanging under the awning. Wow!!! I am sure my eyes were about ready to pop out!! What a beauty! This definitely qualifies for a Paintbrush Bird. In fact, it looks like the Creator had several bushes with a dab of color on each and painted these gorgeous birds.
The male painted bunting is often described as the most beautiful bird in North America and as such has been nicknamed nonpareil, or “without equal”. Its colors, dark blue head, green back, red rump, and underparts, make it extremely easy to identify, but it can still be difficult to spot since it often skulks in foliage even when it is singing. The plumage of female and juvenile painted buntings is green and yellow-green, serving as camouflage. Once seen, the adult female is still distinctive, since it is a brighter, truer green than other similar songbirds.
The juveniles have two inserted molts in their first autumn, each yielding plumage like an adult female.
The painted bunting occupies typical habitat for a member of its family. It is found in thickets, woodland edges with riparian thickets, shrubbery and brushy areas. In the east, the species breeds in maritime hammocks and scrub communities. Today, it is often found along roadsides and in suburban areas, and in gardens with dense, shrubby vegetation. The wintering habitat is typically the shrubby edges along the border of tropical forests or densely vegetated savanna. The breeding range is divided into two geographically separate areas. These include southern Arizona, southern New Mexico, southern and eastern Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Louisiana, northern Florida, coastal Georgia, the southern coast and inland waterways such as the Santee River of South Carolina and northern Mexico. They winter in South Florida, Cuba, the Bahamas, along both coasts of Mexico and through much of Central America. Occasionally, they may be vagrants further north, including to New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. The bird is also found every few years as far north as New Brunswick, Canada. (Wikipedia, with editing)
“Now Israel loved Joseph more than all his children, because he was the son of his old age. Also he made him a tunic of many colors.” (Genesis 37:3 NKJV)
“The rainbowshall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:16 NKJV) [Maybe the Lord gave us a “small reminder” of His rainbow for bright sunny days when our Painted Bunting is flitting about.]
The Blue-footed Booby is not what you might think of as a “Paintbrush Bird,” but I thought that the color of his feet qualifies him. :)
Actually, these feet look more like he stepped into a bucket of paint, instead of a Paintbrush being used on them. Yet, we know that their the Creator made those feet blue with His Creative Touch.
The young are not born with blue feet, but eventually their feet will turn blue.
From Wikipedia: “The blue-footed booby (Sula nebouxii) is a marine bird native to subtropical and tropical regions of the eastern Pacific Ocean. It is one of six species of the genus Sula – known as boobies. It is easily recognizable by its distinctive bright blue feet, which is a sexually selected trait. Males display their feet in an elaborate mating ritual by lifting them up and down while strutting before the female. The female is slightly larger than the male and can measure up to 90 cm (35 in) long with a wingspan up to 1.5 m (5 ft).
The natural breeding habitats of the blue-footed booby are the tropical and subtropical islands of the Pacific Ocean. It can be found from the Gulf of California south along the western coasts of Central and South America to Peru. About half of all breeding pairs nest on the Galápagos Islands. Its diet mainly consists of fish, which it obtains by diving and sometimes swimming under water in search of its prey. It sometimes hunts alone, but usually hunts in groups.
Great Verses to consider:
“My help comes from the LORD, Who made heaven and earth. He will not allow your foot to be moved; He who keeps you will not slumber.” (Psalms 121:2-3 NKJV)
“Ponder the path of your feet, And let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil.” (Proverbs 4:26-27 NKJV)
“A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 NKJV)
Today’s main visitors were three Sandhill Cranes. They were also here yesterday:
Sandhill Cranes feeding yesterday 6/21 by Lee
Today, because of the rain we had last night, and the fact that the food plates had been visited yesterday, they were empty of food, but full of water. So, I stepped out and put the hanging feeder on the ground. It didn’t take time for the Sandy’s to find it.
Sandhill Cranes feeding 6/22 by Lee
Earlier there had been two Fish Crows here, but before I could get the camera, they took off.
Sandhill Crane up close 6/22 by Lee
Look at that pose! It was nice of him/her to give me a great chance to zoom in. This was the guard Crane. There is usually one on duty.
Looking for a lifeguard? Ours walks on water.
A father is someone you can look to no matter how tall you get.
The Mandarin Duck is definitely one of Our Creator’s Masterpieces, far as I’m concerned. I love my local Wood Ducks, but this duck is absolutely one of my favorites! My first glimpse of the Mandarin Ducks was at the Miami Zoo, now Zoo Miami, years ago. They have such clean lines and details that were and are just breathtaking! Later we viewed them many times at the Lowry Park Zoo in Tampa, now Zoo Tampa.
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata) Zoo Miami by Lee
“In the wild, mandarin ducks breed in densely wooded areas near shallow lakes, marshes or ponds. They nest in cavities in trees close to water and during the spring, the females lay their eggs in the tree’s cavity after mating. A single clutch of nine to twelve eggs is laid in April or May. Although the male may defend the brooding female and his eggs during incubation, he himself does not incubate the eggs and leaves before they hatch. Shortly after the ducklings hatch, their mother flies to the ground and coaxes the ducklings to leap from the nest. After all of the ducklings are out of the tree, they will follow their mother to a nearby body of water.
Mandarins feed by dabbling or walking on land. They mainly eat plants and seeds, especially beech mast. The species will also add snails, insects and small fish to its diet. The diet of mandarin ducks changes seasonally; in the fall and winter, they mostly eat acorns and grains. In the spring, they mostly eat insects, snails, fish and aquatic plants. In the summer, they eat dew worms, small fish, frogs, mollusks, and small snakes. They feed mainly near dawn or dusk, perching in trees or on the ground during the day.” (Wikipedia with editing)
The Mandarin Duck has been featured before, and some of those articles are linked below. I rediscovered this video that I took at the Zoo:
“And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” (Genesis 2:2-3 KJV)
“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28 NKJV)
Red-winged Blackbird at S. Lake Howard Nature Pk. by Lee
Birdwatching and Blessings – 6/17/21
Quiet is the word for our yard lately. Other than the Red-winged Blackbird and Mockingbird arguing over who would get to sit on the feeder pole, it has been rather boring.
This morning, only one of the Whistling Ducks showed up to feed. Maybe, the other one is sitting on a nest. That would be exciting. There are no Duck boxes around the neighborhood, so they would have to go to another location for nesting. I can only wish! It would be great to see some immature Whistling Duck swimming behind their parents.
Northern Mockingbird on Hook by Lee
Life is good because God is great!
To have more, desire less.
The teakettle sings even when its up to its neck in hot water.
Truths To Consider:
“Only by pride cometh contention: but with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10 KJV)
“Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.” (Philippians 4:11 KJV)
“The European bee-eater (Merops apiaster) is a near passerine bird in the bee-eater family, Meropidae. It breeds in southern Europe and in parts of north Africa and western Asia. It is strongly migratory, wintering in tropical Africa. This species occurs as a spring overshoot north of its range, with occasional breeding in northwest Europe.”
“This species, like other bee-eaters, is a richly coloured, slender bird. It has brown and yellow upper parts, whilst the wings are green and the beak is black. It can reach a length of 27–29 cm (10.6–11.4 in), including the two elongated central tail feathers. Sexes are alike. Female tends to have greener rather than gold feathers on shoulders. Non-breeding plumage is much duller and with a blue-green back and no elongated central tail feathers.
European Bee-Eater – (Merops apiaster)
“TO LORD, how manifold are thy works! in wisdom hast thou made them all: the earth is full of thy riches. So is this great and wide sea, wherein are things creeping innumerable, both small and great beasts.” (Psalms 104:24-25 KJV)
“He hath made every thing beautiful in his time: also he hath set the world in their heart, so that no man can find out the work that God maketh from the beginning to the end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11 KJV)
This morning our Whistling Duck pair came looking for food, as is becoming their routine. Dan was planning to mow the grass today, so the food dishes were empty and stacked on the patio. So, I put one close by and gave them some food.
God likes it when you smile, but he loves it when He is the reason!
The will of God will never take you to where the grace of God will not protect you.
Truths To Consider:
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks looking to see if they should go that way. 6/11
“I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye.” (Psalms 32:8 KJV)
Black-bellied Whistling Ducks maybe asking or deciding which way to go. 6/11
“And they said unto him, Ask counsel, we pray thee, of God, that we may know whether our way which we go shall be prosperous.” (Judges 18:5 KJV)
Decisions! Decisions! Always best when the Lord is involved in seeking answers.
All flesh is not the same flesh; but there is one kind of flesh of men [ανθρωπων], another flesh of beasts [κτηνων], another of fishes [ιχθυων], and another of birds [τηνων]. (1st Corinthians 15:39)
Q: Are today’s birds genealogical ‘cousins’ to reptiles, due to shared (evolutionary) ancestry?
A:No. (Not even close!) However, today’s birds and reptiles do share the same Creator, the Lord Jesus Christ, Who created them (and their ancestors) to share the same earth, with us.
According to the evolutionary sequence of [imagined] events, birds are supposed to have evolved from reptiles.3
If that had occurred in the past, which it did not, it would mean that today’s birds—such as robins and roadrunners—would be distant ‘cousins’ of reptiles—such as cobras and crocodiles.
The Darwinian tale portrays today’s birds as winged dinosaurs who supposedly survived a global ‘extinction event’ that supposedly occurred about 66,000,000 years ago.1,2
Is there any eyewitness report supporting this magical scenario, or even evidence of any such timeframe? No and no.4,5
Although there are myriads of errors in this sensational speculation, only a few of which are mentioned here.
In particular, this pseudoscience scenario requires swallowing at least three invalid and drastic premises:
(1) the assumption that reptiles are not fundamentally different from birds;3 and
(2) the assumption that a secret agent (oxymoronically named “Natural Selection”, as if “its” naturalistic outcomes were intended) can accidently invent—and then successfully secure(i.e., genetically “lock down”)—such traumatic transitional transmogrifications;5 and
(3) the assumption that any such transitions’ biochemical and genetic details, in defiance of entropy’s universal destructiveness, repeatedly escaped thermodynamic reality.5
For starters, just imagine the first-listed problem, i.e., the complicated anatomical and physiological differences between birds and reptiles:
birds have hollow bones; reptiles, except for marrow cavities, have solid bones;
birds use air sacs for non-stop unidirectional (one-way) airflow through their lungs; most reptiles have two-way breathing systems;
birds are endothermic (warm-blooded), actively controlling their body “thermostats”; reptiles are mostly ectothermic (cold-blooded);
birds have muscle-controlled feathers; reptiles have dry skins or scales;
birds have four-chambered hearts; reptiles usually have three-chambered hearts;
most birds have major muscles anchored to their front, attached to a keeled sternum (breastbone), facilitating perching; reptiles’ main muscles anchor to their vertebral column (backbone), attached in arrangements conducive for standing, walking, and running.2
Don’t expect reptiles to accidentally change their genes to produce birds as descendants. As Fiona Smith says:
In other words, you don’t just put feathers on a reptile and then it can fly. There are a multitude of [essential] attributes, all working together, that make a bird fly.2
There is much more proof—to borrow Dr. Frank Sherwin’s observations—that birds have always (and only) been birds, and that reptiles have always (and only) been reptiles.
God created each bird, and each reptile, to be whatever He chose that creature to be–and it’s our privilege to see God’s magnificent creation and to learn about His magnificent majesty in the process (Revelation 4:11)!
1 For centuries evolutionists have proposed the notion that birds somehow evolved from reptiles, imagining “feathered dinosaurs” or dinosaur-like flying reptiles (like pterodactyls) as speculative ‘transitional’ animals. See, accord, R. Will Burnett, Harvey L. Fisher, & Herbert S. Zim, Zoology: An Introduction to the Animal Kingdom (New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1958), pages 5-7, 13-17, 72-75; Herbert S. Zim & Ira N. Gabrielson, Birds: A Guide to the Most Familiar American Birds (New York, NY: Golden Press, 1964), pages 12-13.
2 “Birds are incredible flying (and occasionally non-flying) machines. The Creator has designed these creatures with specialized flight apparatus, an amazing respiratory system, not to mention unbelievable migration and navigation abilities.” Sherwin, Frank J., “A ‘One-Hundred-Million-Year-Old Bird’ Is Still a Bird”, Creation Science Update (posted June 20, 2006). See also James J. S. Johnson, “Wandering Albatross: Wide Wings on the Winds”, Creation Science Update (July 2, 2020), citing Job 39:26-27 as illustrating God’s bioengineering that enables heavy birds to efficiently use wind current for launching their heavier-than-air bodies into the sky.
3 Smith, Fiona. 2015. Evidence for Creation: A Tour through Some East-Australian Zoos (Fremantle, Western Australia: Vivid Publishing), pages 164-165 (quotation), 251. The late Fiona Smith (now in Heaven with her Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ), an Australian professional geoscientist and science educator, graduated ICR’s School of Biblical Apologetics, during 2015 with a Master of Christian Education degree (joint major in Biblical Education & Apologetics).
4 Regarding the need for reliable eyewitnesses, to learn the real truth about unique events of the no-longer-observable past, see James J. S. Johnson, “There’s Nothing Like an Eyewitness”, Acts & Facts, 45(12):20 (December 2016).
5 Regarding the ubiquitous and inescapable destructiveness of biochemical entropy, see James J. S. Johnson, “Infinite Time Won’t Rescue Evolution”, Acts & Facts. 47(6):21 (June 2018). The phrase “natural selectin” is a misleading bait-and-switch term, because the action of “selection” necessarily requires a selector who can think (i.e., utilize information while exercising intelligence), prefer/favor one outcome as more valuable than another (i.e., make value judgments), and make/implement action-oriented decisions (i.e., make volitional choices). Regarding the mystical-animistic role that Darwinian selectionists imagine inanimate “nature” as playing, in order to “favor” or “select” a series of genetic mutations for producing phenotypically survivability-“fit” outcomes, see Randy J. Guliuzza, “Darwin’s Sacred Imposter: The Illusion that Natural Selection Operates on Organisms”, Acts & Facts, 40(9):121-15 (September 2011).
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Dr. Jim Johnson (“JJSJ”), shown here with a Roger Tory Peterson bird-book (in St. Petersburg, Florida, birdwatching in the backyard of Chaplain Bob & Marcia Webel), was first taught this post’s main facts by Mrs. Thelma Bumgardner, his 2nd grade teacher (a true creation science educator), at Damascus Elementary School in Maryland. During the half-century thereafter Jim has enjoyed learning about birds–and, more importantly, about the Lord Jesus Christ (the Creator or birds and everything else, including us!)–and have acquired some relevant formal education (including college degrees with concentrations on the ecology and zoology of birds)–and a lot of birding adventures (including one that almost cost him his life). Due to the kind patience, WordPress-savvy knowledge/skills and accomplishments, and ever-ready technical expertise of Professor Lee Dusing (who owns, operates, and prolifically posts on Leesbird.com, as she indefatigably role-models what Christian ornithologists should be like), Jim has been able to occasionally post articles, for the past few years, on this Christian birdwatching blog. To God be the glory!
The Gouldian finch (Chloebia gouldiae), also known as the Lady Gouldian finch, Gould’s finch or the rainbow finch, is a colorful passerine bird that is native to Australia. Both sexes are brightly colored with black, green, yellow, and red markings. The females tend to be less brightly colored. One major difference between the sexes is that the male’s chest is purple, while the female’s is a lighter mauve.
Gouldian finches’ heads may be red, black, or yellow. Formerly considered three different kinds of finches, it is now known that these are color variants that exist in the wild. Selective breeding has also developed mutations (blue, yellow and silver instead of a green back) in both body and breast color.
Black-headed male Gouldian Finch @Frankfurt Zoo
Prior to the Australian government’s ban on the export of Australian fauna, Gouldian finches were exported worldwide. These birds have resulted in viable breeding populations being held in many countries.
Captive breeding has resulted in several colour mutations. Mutations vary by country, with some existing only in Australia (the Australian yellow and the Australian “dilute”) and others existing in greater number in the United States, such as the blue bodied Gouldian. The most common body mutations in the United States are blue, pastel green (single and double-factor, resulting in “dilute” and yellow males and yellow females), and pastel blue (again, single and double-factor producing “pastel” and silver males, and silver hens).
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Africaddict
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Dan
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) by Ian
Gouldian Finch (Erythrura gouldiae) at NA by Lee
#3 Red-headed with Juveniles
Red-headed male Gouldian Finch at Artis, Zoo-Netherlands
What a beautiful colorful array of the rainbow.
“Many, O LORD my God, are Your wonderful works Which You have done; And Your thoughts toward us Cannot be recounted to You in order; If I would declare and speak of them, They are more than can be numbered.” (Psalms 40:5 NKJV)
“We will not hide them from their children, Telling to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, And His strength and His wonderful works that He has done.” (Psalms 78:4 NKJV)
Swallow-tailed Kite – the one bird I got a photo of as it flew overhead previously.
Birdwatching and Blessings – 6/7-10/21
Since the last post, on 6/6/21, it has been sort of quiet out back. On June 7th, the busiest morning greeted us with the Muscovys and Pekins coming by for breakfast, while a Red-winged Blackbird landed on the hanging feeder. The Tricolored Heron walked along the shore. The best delight was when a Swallow-tailed Kite flew by. They are in the area for only a couple of months each year.
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) by Daves BirdingPix
Later, while we were eating lunch, the Whistling Duck pair (becoming regulars) were eating, when another pair of Black-bellied Whistling Ducks showed up, and the “turf war was on!” They jump up in the air and put their feet out toward the other duck. This time, both pairs got into it at the same time. Of course, you never have time to grab a camera. About the time they got back on the ground, a White Ibis decided to walk in between the two feuding pairs, and the war was over. I guess I’ll have to re-name him the Peace Ibis.
On 6/8/21, another Roseate Spoonbill flew by and a Great Blue Heron.
Yesterday, 6/9/21, a Roseate Spoonbill flew by again. The Muscovys were on the other side of the pond along with an Anhinga hanging out to dry. The Red-winged Blackbird chowed down again at the hanging feeder. Then it was off to church.
A large heart can be filled with very little.
A grateful mind is a great mind.
Truths To Consider:
“I will run the course of Your commandments, For You shall enlarge my heart. Teach me, O LORD, the way of Your statutes, And I shall keep it to the end. Give me understanding, and I shall keep Your law; Indeed, I shall observe it with my whole heart. Make me walk in the path of Your commandments, For I delight in it. Incline my heart to Your testimonies, And not to covetousness.” (Psalms 119:32-36 NKJV)
The Lilac-breasted Roller is another beautiful candidate as a Paintbrush Bird. Our Master Creator has provided us with another neatly painted bird.
Description and Details
“The lilac-breasted roller (Coracias caudatus) is an African bird of the roller family, Coraciidae. It prefers open woodland and savanna, and it is for the most part absent from treeless places. Usually found alone or in pairs, it perches conspicuously at the tops of trees, poles or other high vantage points from where it can spot insects, lizards, scorpions, snails, small birds and rodents moving about on the ground. Nesting takes place in a natural hole in a tree where a clutch of 2–4 eggs are laid, and incubated by both parents, who are extremely aggressive in defense of their nest, taking on raptors and other birds.
“The diet of the lilac-breasted roller consists of arthropods and small vertebrates, including ground-dwelling insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes and millipedes, snails, and a variety of small vertebrates, including small birds. Slow-moving lizards, chameleons and snakes, and the blind, burrowing Afrotyphlops and Leptotyphlops species are especially vulnerable to them when crossing roads. In East Africa, they join other perch hunters like Taita fiscals and pale flycatchers to make opportunistic use of grassland fires, and in South Africa are likewise seen in association with kites, storks, swallows and bee-eaters when burning of firebreaks drive small animals unto roads.
Because they feed mainly on terrestrial prey, lilac-breasted rollers will perch to scout from a higher vantage point (including from atop of large herbivorous mammals) before swooping in and grabbing prey with their beaks. If their prey is small, they will swallow it on the ground. These aggressive birds will carry larger prey back to a perch and beat it until it is dismembered. (Wikipedia)